January is coming to an end and I have had some slow days. The slow days gave me a chance to look through us Pittsburgh Penguins farm teams and prospects, to see who may fall on the farm and possibly help the team in case of injuries along the stretch or play-off matches or in the wings waiting for next season.
Down in WBS
If you have not yet had a chance to watch, we Glen Lyon – Scranton (WBS) Penguins has been getting hot lately. Part of the revival of WBS was the trade of Sam Lafferty for Alexander Nylander. I was not a fan of the trade. Lafferty represented something that our NHL version of Penguins desperately needed, real gravel, not punching bag gravel. Yes, there are many penguins that take a nap every night, but there are few Mike Sullivansay Smurf city Penguins hitting opponents. It should come as no great surprise that Penguins are injured due to Sullivan’s punching bag strategy. He moans for officials rather than his team deserving of respect.
I feel bad about Teddy Blueger and all the others that will be mutilated by Sullivan’s allergy to size and sand.
However, this is for a different time. Back to Nylander and the revival of the WBS Penguins. Looking at Nylander’s statistics line, he set up almost the same numbers in WBS as he did with his trade with the Rockford Icehogs, but in almost half the time. More importantly, Nylander seems to be playing better defense. His +/- remained the same compared to the -10 hole he dug before putting on the Black and Gold.
Nylander’s addition seems to be igniting several other of our boys on the farm. One of the players I’ve been watching, Valterri Puustenin has also been on a tear lately. He pushed up his team’s leading goals (G), assists (A), points (Pts), and power play goal (PPG) totals (13, 14, 27 and 4 respectively). If anyone remembers, I pointed out that this kid’s pre-season With-or-Without your (WoW) numbers show that he managed the offense on his lines, Dominic Simon‘s numbers, give us, play favorites over talent, Coach.
Speaking of the Human pylon, anyone else who is tired of watching him take bad penalties or give away the puck at critical times? I would probably rather see Puustenin there than Simon, anyone other than Simon.
I should not speak so badly of the Pens ersatz wing, the real culprit here is the coach who keeps putting Simon on the ice.
Nathan Legare and Sam Poulin also picked up their game. Poulin’s offense was a bit better, apparently due to Power Play (PP) time on ice (TOI). Légaré also started to pick up his offense, especially his G. More importantly, however, Légaré improved his +/- centimeter closer to equal.
Poulin also reports third on WBS’s Penalty Minute (PIM) leadership council with 33, just behind Jonathan Gruden (35) and Jordy Bellerive (54). I’m still holding my thumb for Bellerive (I know it’s a long shot, but I can not help it).
Filip Hållander also begins to show signs of improvement. He certainly does not seem to be a good exchange for the road Jared McCann play for the Seattle Chairs (I agree with you Rick B but we can do nothing about it now). Maybe Hållander will eventually live up to what the Scouts said about him, a good bottom 6 asset as he gets used to North America.
Jan Drozg has also pretty much acquitted himself in WBS lately. His name regularly appears on the leaderboard, but more importantly, on a team that has struggled defensively all season, he is +1. He struggled for a while to get out of the ECHL, but he seems to be making the move to the AHL.
Let’s not miss the game Alex D’Orio in WBS’s hot streak. I’ve been really down on him for a long time now – almost since he earned his contract at the prospect’s tournament a few years back. He did not only impress me, but also belly management. However, he has since struggled, ending his Junior career with a whimper and then struggling for a few seasons in the ECHL with the Spike wheelsbut over the past month he has benefited from an injury to Filip Lindberg and Louis Domingo must be called due to Casey DeSmith awful game at the NHL level. He even earned a Shut Out (SO) for himself last month.
At the ECHL level
Down in Wheeling, Josh Maniscalco begins to show signs that he is living up to the hope we had that he would be a find John Marino. Unfortunately, neither Marino nor Maniscalco lived up to the hope we had for them last season. Not only has Marino started his game this season, but Maniscalco has played 27 points in 32 games (GP) for the Wheeling, and is a +12 with 40 PIM.
Down in the Juniors
Most of us deep prospects have cooled. Lukáš Švejkovský started very strong and he still seems to be the best attacking prospect deep in the Junior ranks. He was recently from The Medicine Hat Animals after the Seattle Thunderbirds. Raivis Ansons and Kirill Tankov (one of Caleb‘s favorites) still intrigue me.
On defense, Clayton Philips still seems to me to be the best prospect in the system. I honestly do not think Pierre-Olivier Joseph will make it into the NHL. At the moment he is moving well, but is too light to stand against the heavier players of the NHL. Unfortunately, at his age now, I’m not sure he will be able to put on enough weight to handle the NHL while maintaining his current mobility. He might be a good throw-in to move out dead wood and might get a decent outlook or draft pick in return.
In Goal, I’m still high on our recent draft picks Joel Blomqvist and Calle Clang, but they are still several years away. They need better consistency. When they are challenged by playing against higher levels of talent in the top leagues, they seem to get the opportunity, but when they face weaker players in lower leagues, they do not seem to play as well.
|Almari, Niclas||WBS Penguins||AHL||D||11||1||1||2||1||2|
|Almeida, Justin||WBS Penguins||AHL||LW||7||1||0||1||-2||0|
|Almeida, Justin||Spike wheels||ECHL||C / LW||20||16||12||28||0||-6|
|Angello, Anthony||WBS Penguins||AHL||RW||14||3||4||7||0||4|
|Bellerive, Jordy||WBS Penguins||AHL||C||35||6||10||16||-5||54|
|Björkqvist, Kasper||WBS Penguins||AHL||RW||24||4||1||5||-4||10|
|Chaput, Michael||WBS Penguins||AHL||C||22||2||7||9||0||10|
|Domingo, Louis||WBS Penguins||AHL||G||10||0||0||0||0||2|
|D’Orio, Alex||WBS Penguins||AHL||G||12||0||0||0||0||0|
|Drozg, Jan.||WBS Penguins||AHL||RW||18||2||6||8||1||8|
|Fedun, Taylor||WBS Penguins||AHL||D||31||3||8||11||9||16|
|Gruden, Jonathan||WBS Penguins||AHL||LW||36||1||9||10||-4||36|
|Hållander, Filip||WBS Penguins||AHL||LW||31||4||8||12||0||14|
|Joseph, Pierre-Olivier||WBS Penguins||AHL||D||29||4||14||18||8||20|
|Lee, Cam||WBS Penguins||AHL||D||32||1||9||10||-11||20|
|LIt isat allIt isNatan||WBS Penguins||AHL||RW||26||5||7||12||-6||22|
|Lindberg, Filip||WBS Penguins||AHL||G||7||0||0||0||0||0|
|Maniscalco, Josh||WBS Penguins||AHL||D||2||0||0||0||-4||12|
|Maniscalco, Josh||Spike wheels||ECHL||D||32||8||19||27||12||40|
|Nylander, Alexander||WBS Penguins||AHL||RW||13||6||5||11||0||2|
|Nylander, Alexander||Rock for Icehogs||AHL||RW||23||8||4||12||-10||0|
|O’Connor, Drew||WBS Penguins||AHL||LW||5||3||2||5||0||2|
|Poulin, Sam||WBS Penguins||AHL||LW||33||6||10||16||-8||33|
|Hout, Valterri||WBS Penguins||AHL||RW||37||13||14||27||-4||10|
|Reilly, Will||WBS Penguins||AHL||D||12||0||0||0||-1||2|
|Reilly, Will||Spike wheels||ECHL||D||3||2||4||6||2||2|
|Riikola, Juuso||WBS Penguins||AHL||D||17||1||11||12||-8||8|
|Zohorna, Radim||WBS Penguins||AHL||C||23||5||5||10||-6||6|
|Masonius, Josef||Utica comet||AHL||D||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Masonius, Josef||Adirondack Thunder||ECHL||D||27||4||15||19||-7||62|
|Ansons, Raivis||Baie-Comeau Drakkar||QMJHL||W||19||6||18||24||14||6|
|Ansons, Raivis||Latvia U20 “A”||WJC-29 D1A||W||5||4||5||9||2||4|
|Belliveau, Isak||Gatineau Olympics||QMJHL||D||29||1||9||10||8||21|
|Broz, Tristan||U van Minn||NCAA||F||23||2||2||4||0||6|
|Caulfield, Judd||You from N Dakota||NCAA||RW||25||4||5||9||4||8|
|Laatsch, Daniel||U of Wis||NCAA||D||25||0||2||2||-9||2|
|McCleary, Ryan||Portland Winterhawks||WHL||D||35||4||12||16||6||14|
|Phillips, Clayton||Penn State||NCAA||D||26||5||7||12||16||14|
|Švejkovský, Lukáš||Medicine Hat Animals||WHL||C / RW||24||13||17||30||-7||22|
|Švejkovský, Lukáš||Seattle Thunderbirds||WHL||C / RW||5||0||6||6||4||4|
|Tankov, Kirill||SKA-Neva St. Petersburg||VHL||F||32||9||8||17||11||8|
|Tankov, Kirill||Russia U20||WJC-20||F||2||0||1||1||-1||0|
|Yoder, Chase||Providence College||NCAA||F||28||4||5||8||3||8|
|Domingo, Louis||WBS Penguins||AHL||10||0||2.69||3||4||2||0.918|
|D’Orio, Alex||WBS Penguins||AHL||12||0||3.25||5||6||0||0.899|
|D’Orio, Alex||Spike wheels||ECHL||7||0||3.25||4||2||0||0.885|
|Lindberg, Filip||WBS Penguins||AHL||7||0||2.76||4||2||0||0.915|
|Blomqvist, Joel||Flies U20||U20 SM Series||1||0||4.63||0||0||0||0.868|
|Blomqvist, Joel||Finland U20||International Jr.||6||0||0.889|
|Klank, Calle||Rögle BK||SHL||9||0||2.52||4||4||0||0.903|
|Klank, Calle||Sweden U20||International Jr.||4||1||1.2||2||2||0||0.951|
Odds and Sods
According to Jeff Marek of Hockey Night in Canadathe Penguins are one of 6 teams chasing over-age Junior Goalie Mack Guzda. Guzda is a 6′-5 “, 215-pound, 21-year-old goalkeeper who for the Barrie Colts. With DeSmith’s inconsistent play and D’Orio’s struggles at the start of the season, combined with the Lindberg injury and the youthful ages of Blomqvist and Clang, I’m glad to see this development. You can not have too much goalkeeping depth.
|Guzda, Mack||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||10||0||3.2||5||4||1||0.915|
|Guzda, Mack||Barrie Colts||OHL||14||2||2.04||11||2||1||0.931|
As an overweight Junior, the Pens can sign him during the season. I keep my fingers crossed.